Revisiting old friends

At least that is what my routines feel like these days.

Today was an interesting lesson because we went through all of my routines for the first time since my surgery.  We weren’t going full out, and worked through them slow, but it was good to run through them again.

Even though it was more or less a review lesson, there were still some interesting points that came out of it.

We started by having a look at my rumba basic and focusing on some of the finer points I am missing, including the ‘flick’ on the forward step, keeping the toes of my moving foot on the floor with my heel facing back, and settling into my hips at each end.

We also looked at my rumba walks and while they are going well, I have started to let myself ‘collapse’ a little so my body is sinking when I am settling the hip.  We worked on keeping my upper body just a little more forward, but also keeping my body up throughout the whole motion.

That actually led quite interestingly into something a little unexpected when we started running through my routines with rumba.  After running through the routine once, Boss took some time to work on the connection through the hand for lead/follow.  Instead of just walking through my steps, we were working on connecting through the body movement so he was leading me through them.  It was interesting and challenging for me because I am always very cautious and don’t ever want to be too heavy or strong when dancing with someone.

What we were doing required me to apply pressure through my hand to Boss’s, but to use that pressure to communicate and move my body.  I needed to work the movement from my body through to my hand to let Boss know where I was in my movements–whether I was up, settled, or transitioning.  It was really interesting to do and certainly took my perception of following to a different level.  I found myself repeatedly fighting my instinct to be ‘light’ and not apply pressure, but when I did I was surprised how much more I could move using the lead from Boss.  We didn’t do a lot, just worked through the fan in rumba, but it was enough to start getting my wheels turning.  It also gave me an idea of where we will be working when we start working more often on latin, and we are done working through the focus we are doing on standard right now.

The other surprising thing to come out of today was two comments from Boss on my frame in both samba and paso.  In samba I guess I made some adjustments without realizing it, and it really carried through to paso.  Boss was surprised and pleased to discover that my frame has become more stable in both dances and now he can feel what I am doing from one side through to the other, instead of both sides stopping at my elbows and being disconnected.  I could certainly feel a difference in Paso which I am pretty sure are coming from the work we are doing in standard.  It will be interesting to see where that direction goes.

Today was a good day to review my ‘old friends’, as today I also returned to strength training for the first time in over a year.  After multiple strength training exercises to exhaust and build my muscles, I was definitely feeling fatigued when I got to the studio.  In addition to that, the way things got timed tonight I practiced before my lesson (usually it is the other way around).  By the time I got to my lesson, my legs were shaking whenever I had to put all my weight on one side, and I was having a hard time keeping my arms up, so it quickly became obvious that concentrated and focused work on waltz wasn’t going to go well. I had given Boss a heads-up that I was probably going to be weak and shaky from doing strength training so he wasn’t too surprised.  It will take about two weeks for my body to adjust, and I am glad to be able to get back to strengthening–even though the rest of the week is going to suck with the DOMS I am already feeling.

On a different note, I didn’t have a great weekend.  The anxiety I was feeling Friday continued and when I saw the surgeon on Saturday he surprised me by saying that the best thing to fix the issue of the fluid and swelling in my abdomen would be to surgically correct it.  It was surprising because I really thought he was going to tell me I would have to just put up with the swelling and fluid, and that is not what he said (which I am gratelful for). So yes, another surgery in my future, and probably another 6 weeks off of dance to recover from it.

When I saw the surgeon, he checked my belly and right away could tell it was full of fluid.  He wasn’t sure why the radiologist was not able to find it, and at first he was going to send me back to get a drain put in by radiology.  But he rethought it, and admitted at this point that a drain wasn’t likely to work and that surgery would be a more definitive and final solution.  I told him flat out that if given a choice I would prefer the surgery.  I just want to get all of this over with and behind me and it doesn’t make sense to wait 2 more weeks to possibly get a drain put in that is not likely to help for a decision to be made 2 weeks after to do the surgery.  As it is, it will probably be at least 2 months before this next surgery will happen.

By Saturday night, everything hit me really hard and came to a head.  But I am lucky in that I have some great friends and one of them was around to be supportive when I needed it.  Today I am feeling much better and more positive and I am waiting to hear when my surgery will be.

In the meantime, all I can do is keep working to get as strong as possible beforehand so the recovery will go easier.  Starting strength training and moving forward with dance will all help with that–so too will losing some weight and I am happy to report that finally I am starting to drop some.  It’s early days for all, but I know I have the drive and dedication to keep moving towards my goals–even if there are some ‘speedbumps’ in the way.

Bumps are sometimes hard to start to conquer, but once you get to the top, it’s all downhill from there.